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tv   Book Discussion on Katharine and R.J. Reynolds  CSPAN  May 26, 2014 9:30pm-10:09pm EDT

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>> the. >> in it was temperamental he was shy but he also had a political purpose if he did not talk a lot people would
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stop talking and a political leader is constantly bombarded with requests and his silence was a way to not give in to special interest.
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>> host: michelle gillespie who was r.j. reynolds? >> guest: one of the original tobacco manufacturers in the united states fish. he was selling chewing tobacco and became the manufacturer for the entire country he. he was the son the second data 16 of a tobacco planter before the civil for to own over 50 slaves the largest slaveholder in patrick county virginia. so r.j. reynolds and grew up the board 1850's and learn to fill whole business of growing tobacco from his father and also he was the entrepreneurial and pretty shrewd recognized it is great to grow tobacco but maybe even better to sell that. and his profit to manufacture. he took that tobacco and
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created his own plantation and a manufacturing plant he had his sons and his lawyers how to figure out to turn the plant into chewing tobacco. keys so that before the civil war and afterwards during reconstruction he had his son continue to learn the business. his father figure out if you are losing money in the tobacco trade with the end of the civil war and taught his sons how to do the business. particularly r.j. reynolds realized that plantation was too far away from marketing possibilities that if you sell this, you could not do it the old way to get into wagons to take up a big brick of chewing tobacco to headed to the appalachian mountains down the backbone
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and sell it to the people who lived in the hollows and the valleys. he would send his sons out to do this but r.j. reynolds learned how to do this and came back. he realized that made money but it was sort of very smart way to market. he realized the future was in real roads with close access and bigger efficiencies of scale. when r.j. reynolds was a teenager he went to baltimore and studied accounting sleight night school but what he really did was to learn how business works the modernizing of the of period. >> host: how did he end up the north carolina? >> he came back in the end look at the plantation and
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said i will work for you launder and saved money his father paid him and he realized the golden leaf tobacco market would best served self love for he was. so he moved to princeton north carolina a tiny town in the 1860's with the couple thousand people but because of the location there were lots of young braddish men like himself who realized the golden leaf tobacco that people were just beginning to grow along the border was gold in their pocket if they could bring it into the warehouse or manufacture it better yet. r.j. reynolds was one of those dozens of young men who arrived. he came in 1875 the equivalent of about $7,500 at the time which is about
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$140,000 of today's money. he built a base small brick warehouse that he turned into a tobacco manufacturing and he slept upstairs because he was so cheap. he credits his early beginnings to about one dozen african-american men who worked with him to make that work. in the beginning he really was one of dozens of other men setting up warehouses and early manufacturing houses but pretty quickly he figured out he could do some innovations that people were not thinking about. he bought a steam engine to provide light of the winter so even through the short days of long nights so he could produce faster.
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also he looked around and said this town will be big someday and he pushed to get an extension of the train service to winston. he also bought land all over the place and for commercial and private reasons and he bought a farm and pressed for public utilities and ran for city council he decided he would make this place work and put his heart and soul into this so quickly he emerged as his young brothers say the biggest blood in the town of princeton. he was doing very, very well commercially and manufacturing. buying tobacco from tobacco farmers counties a way to with sell to him exclusively. he had a big personality
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because he had gone into the mountains to sell that tobacco is a young man he learned how to talk to anybody and everybody. that carried over to his transition from the agricultural world to the new manufacturing world that he was in charge of. he could talk to the farmers , the african american men, middle-class families and then would have him come to their wedding so he was very personable and charming. and in the 1890's but he probably was the largest manufacturer of chewing tobacco in the country by the 1890's. >> host: when did cigarettes come into play?
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>> guest: he was very slow to make the transition to cigarettes. they became popular by the mid 19th century in europe. and in today's time were very quick to make that transition and choose cigarettes the first to buy the machinery so they were manufacturing cigarettes. r.j. reynolds was slow for someone who ended up being innovative he was behind the times in the late 19th century perhaps because he was so successful. and he had 40 different brands with his labels on he was a marketing genius. so we did not feel a burning
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desire to make that transition to cigarettes. ended 1913 with this camel cigarette the devil take changes of the market for him to make that transition. there was a panic in 1893 and when that happened here dr. brown to and thought about retiring and said i want to take some risks and spent the 1890's and growing his company he would go into a big debt such debt to create more and more buildings to extend the market the top management people left him and said this man is crazy but he was crazy like a fox because he ended up bringing in his
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younger brothers to put them in charge of the company, he kept going into debt and growing he found he was getting into trouble late 1890's then he went to the duke of cigarettes james buchanan duke because he was buying with the american tobacco company has a monopoly buying up all the tobacco companies throughout the country. he had stayed away from r.j. reynolds because he thought he was doing chewing tobacco that was old fashioned as a lower class clientele. he thought cigarettes and pipe tobacco were the way to go. but r.j. reynolds said i need more capital. i have gone into debt and want to grow my company. what people did not realize
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was r.j. reynolds went to duke to say i need your capital by my company out put me under the american tobacco monopoly andy will be glad that you did. so they made a secret deal and to his friends r.j. reynolds said the looks like i am going under but not really. watch. once said r.j. reynolds company was under american tobacco, r.j. reynolds got american tobacco to buy out of his competitors in winston and north carolina. including the haynes from textiles. people don't realize the haines of today's started off as a tobacco manufacturing in may and stayed that way if r.j. reynolds had not convinced
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due to buy that company out from the gains brothers then they went to textiles after the. after no more competition he keeps selling chewing tobacco and goes to new york and learns how corporations work. and he comes back to use the ideas from duke about modern corporations and how they work to have effective management teams and what is going on with york city and takes it in than builds a research component femme brings in a swiss scientist working on using saccharin and other flavoring and very quietly they work on new pipe tobacco and also on cigarettes. they are not supposed to under the terms of the american tobacco company.
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but r.j. reynolds is doing this. 1907 rights as the supreme court is starting to look at american tobacco to say this is a monopoly, r.j. reynolds pulls out prince albert smoking tobacco and duke is spending so much time worrying about the supreme court that he lets it go by. r.j. reynolds sells prince albert smoking tobacco and a beautiful king and with the prince albert on the front and it hits like wildfire and everyone buys prince albert tobacco and it is a great success. three years later the supreme court breaks up the american tobacco trust and r.j. reynolds comes out smelling like a rose. the supreme court breaks into four different companies and r.j. reynolds gets his company back.
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meanwhile he has been investing doing research in cigarettes and in 1913 he then launches the camel cigarette that has the most brilliant advertising campaign but it was so advertising company people still study that whole
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>> >> they wanted to set up a moravian community in north carolina to build their
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community to bring in new recruits. they had come from germany or originally and were very cultured, literate and will bet probably end came to a wild party in the mid 18th century and built their communities they were artisans, merchants and educated their sons and daughters. save them prospered fall through the 19th century and prided itself to be a very cultured middle-class group of people. half a mile away we have winston that does not take root until the middle of the century and is attracting
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the young braddish men out to make a buck very opportunistic. but the thing about the young tobacco folks and textile folks is that they recognize the future lies in building this world with that transportation and opportunity to use advertising and by the end of the 19th century even though salem is not thrilled about the growth of manufacturing they have to pay attention by the early 20th century they say to the town people manufacturing is the future. is taking shape before our eyes. you need to join a san
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incorporate together and we will all be better to attract more businesses businesses, more investment if we come together. lots of salem people were not excited but then the incorporation happened and. >> host: we have done a disservice. the name of your book is "katharine and rj reynolds" partners of fortune in the making of the new south." [laughter] the with catherine and why did she get top billing? >> guest: a couple reasons. because i really started off the book project to let catherine reynolds. i am a historian of women in the american south and when i arrived at the university i learned that catherine reynolds was seen as the leading lights of winston-salem her ideas of reform or commitment her
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interest to social issues everyone understood it is part of the of legacy. i started to research her first. she was born much later she was born in 1880 he was born 1850's so 30 years difference. they did not get married and tells 1905 it catherine was 24 and r.j. reynolds was 54 and was up bachelor. she was a fascinating figure to me because she had done all of this change in winston but i realized she could not have made the mark she did without r.j. reynolds with not only his role -- wealth but her
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pinterest enabled her to use her imagination and intelligence and skills and leadership abilities. if not she may have not had the legacy that she left us. she was interested in all kinds of things. one of the founding members of the ywca, very interested in the general federation of women's clubs and committed to the women's business organization and cared deeply about the social services and in the hospitals, orphanages, and give families meals at thanksgiving to celebrate even though they were experiencing to rest an interested in women's right to vote. every conceivable women's club effort katharine had a
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figure in. she was never a sustained leader of any movement but always behind them either giving money or serving on the board showing the people that bettman could have the important public role. >> host: what were some of r.j. reynolds public causes? >> guest: he was interesting. he did not take on the same prominent philanthropic efforts that katharine did that were bigger of city or stage or national scope. r.j. reynolds was very strategic so while he was a great philanthropist it was very local. usually to whites and blacks
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in the period of jim crow to give equal money to give white and black entities. the gate to orphanages, churches, benevo lence societies but all very small and local. i argue he did this they supported his company in a lot of cases his employees and the people he wanted to be connected to in the community. he gave equally to whites and blacks quite strategically. we could say he was ahead of his time but opposed to jim crow segregation but that is not the case. he accepted what was parked
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and parcel with that world but to give equitably he would say i care deeply about your social issues and i will support your community and i have a connection to you as your employer is someone who has your welfare beyond my factory. and to deal with the reality of day horrific jim crow racism. . .
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so the democratic party was the party of all whites essentially and the early 20th century. so that probably really shouldn't surprise us. it was essentially a conservative party for white men in the early 20th century. >> host: from your book r.j. reynolds embrace life and reportedly named several of his
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favor brands over his girlfriends and local stories continued to circulate about his dalliances as a single man. winston's white and black communities recounts several traditions about rj are sexual relationships with black women. >> guest: absolutely. rjr was a robust healthy vibrant man in every sense of the word. he loves to live life large. he loved hunting and he loved drinking and even though he was incredibly hard-working and incredibly disciplined in some respects in terms of this business when he let his hair down he let his hair down and he did not marry anyone until he was 54 years old. i was able to document the fact that he did have this one child out of wedlock, a white child. the story goes and is told by members of the family, the story
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goes that he was out hunting with a friend on lands that a farmer owned in a neighboring county and had a relationship with a farmer's daughter who subsequently became pregnant and had a son. that son was an orphanage for part of his life but by the time he was seven or eight and was able to find him and winston living in the home of r.j. reynolds brother and sister-in-law who essentially adopted him as their own. but i also found that young man was being tutored by r.j. reynolds and in the account books that i found of r.j. reynolds i could find this young man being trained by r.j. reynolds to learn how business worked. by the time this young man was in his 20s he was working for r.j. reynolds company and ended up being an important manager out of omaha nebraska. rjr died in 1918.
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the son died four years later early in life of a sickness that when he died he had over $600,000 in his estate and he gave that money to a number of cherokees and winston. actually ended up giving more money philanthropic we then r.j. reynolds himself so that's an interesting story to see how r.j. reynolds to care this young man. catherine married r.j. reynolds in 1905 so catherine knew about the sun and katharine and this young man kept in contact with each other and corresponded in the last year of r.j. reynolds' life so she was very aware of this. i was never able to document that r.j. reynolds had affairs with any other women before he married his katharine or after. i suspect strongly that once he and katharine were married that he was fatal to her for the 14 years of their marriage. he expressed deep love in his
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letter stick katharine. he had four children with katharine in quick succession and then he became ill with pancreatic cancer at the end of their marriage. i think that he was faithful throughout their marriage. >> host: katharine wenched did she die? >> guest: she died in 1924 when she was 43 years old. she died early because she had a child. she had been told in 1914 not to have any more children. she was pregnant with the fifth child with r.j. reynolds and had some heart troubles. her doctors actually aborted that fetus and told her did not have any more children. she cared for r.j. reynolds until 1918 and when he died and then a year later she fell in love with a young principal that she had hired for a school she
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was building on her estate. he was a very handsome young man. he was 12 years her junior. he was a world war i veteran. he was also deeply committed to education and i think the two fell very madly and very passionately in love. she was very committed to having children with him. she married him in 1921 and she became very committed to having children with him. there is word in my town that he sort of forced his hand here and told her, and went to have children but from my reading of katharine's letter she herself wanted to have children. she had a son with him in 1924. there were concerns about her health. she was 43 years old. there wasn't a health care for women of that age at that time. she went to a hospital in new york and was on address for the three will months preceding the
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birth of the son. the son was born in may of 1924. her husband sent a telegram home to everyone at the minolta estate in winston-salem mother and son doing fine and three days later she died of an embolism. a very sad sad story. the city was destroyed when they heard that katharine had died. the city had been very sad when r.j. reynolds died six years earlier but he lived to be 64. he had let a great life and built this great company. when katharine died the city mourned because she was only 43 years old and i think there was a sense that she would have done so much more for the city then she had already done. her body was brought back by train to winston and a funeral was arranged for her. six different ministers spoke at the funeral from six different phases which is extraordinary to me. when the funeral court tosh took her to the salem cemetery where
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she was going to be buried thousands of people lined the streets. the schools were closed. the stores were closed. city government was closed in honor of this woman in 1924. i think to myself that i know of no other city that shut down for the death of a woman in the 20th century. it's particularly in the american south in this period. so deep was the morning for it katharine and the understanding of her commitment to that place place. for scalia wrote that katharine escaped when she couldn't escape the confines of womanhood and unending duties on behalf of others and the leadership of r.j. reynolds tobacco preceded rjr's death and looked for terms of modernity. >> guest: katharine when she
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realized with rjr's death she wouldn't have the kind of voice she had the company up to this point here has been. i think she was instrumental in the success of the end of the air campaign the advertising campaign for the camel cigarette. she was very good friends. when rjr died she didn't have that kind of influence in the company anymore and the company was not interested in even bringing in her new husband into the company as well. i think katharine thought saw the door was closed to the business side that she hadn't been able to culminate through r.j. reynolds and she let her hair down a bit. she was in her late 30s or early 40s and she sobbed the new generation of the 1920s and she embraced that. i think she was passionately and
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madly in love with her second husband j. edward johnson junior but there was a sexual awaking in that relationship. i was lucky in that i was able to meet the son that was born in 1924 a few years before he died. he was living in baltimore and i spent a couple of days with him. he gave me the love letters between catherine and her second husband j. edward johnson. i seek katharine saying i'm going to embrace my life. i'm going to think about what is the best culture i can bring to the scene. i'm going to have pitiful clothes and i'm going to remake myself in this new sexual way. you can literally see in photographs how she goes from 1905 being late victorian woman very young but still dressed in finery up to her neck hearse leaves covered and by 1921 you can see that she is baring her
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and wearing sleeveless outfits and she's just presenting herself in a very different way. she is saying life is short. i have had my four children. i'm going to embrace like. >> host: michele gillespie what is the r.j. reynolds tobacco company today and what is its foot and? >> guest: the company today is reynolds american so it is joined with another tobacco company. it has had a storied life in many ways in winston but it its reach now has to be more international to develop new clients abroad rather than in the united states. reynolds has gone through the huge master settlement of the late 1990s. the company has downsized again and again as a resident of
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winston-salem. you open a newspaper and you learn that the company has let more people go or plans to let more people go. it is still headquartered there. >> host: still manufactures? >> guest: at manufactures fewer but it does still manufacture cigarettes there. it still has a huge imprint on the town. there are so many residents of winston who very early on were beneficiaries not only is being employees of the reynolds company but of also getting stock and that stock has grown and grown over the course of the 20th century, split and divided and there have been really good profits made from this is from this as late as the 1990s. winston is an extraordinary city during the depression they were more millionaires per-capita in winston-salem than any other city in the country and most of that wealth came from the success of the cigarette trade.
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winston-salem is the beneficiary in terms of having extraordinary arts for a relatively small city less than 200,000. we have the first school for the arts in north carolina is in winston. we have one of the first arts councils in the country so there are ways in which the wealth that came out of the tobacco company out of r.j. reynolds tobacco along with textiles and other companies has really contributed i think to making a small city culturally and exciting place. >> host: what is the reynolds connection to wake forest? and what is your connection? >> guest: my connection is an easy one. i'm a professor of american history at wake forest. i've been there since 1999. i should also say my husband is a graduate of wake forest. i was very fortunate to come to wake forest because i knew it had an extraordinary liberal arts education there. it's a pleasure to teach at wake
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forest. wake forest is a big beneficiary of the reynolds family. wake forest originally in 1834 originated just north of raleigh in the town of wake forest north carolina. and what is extraordinary and higher education the reynolds family was able to persuade this baptist liberal arts college to move, to up and move itself from the middle of the state to winston-salem and did so in the 1950s. wake forest is on land that was originally owned in part of the estate and wake forest is also beneficiary of the c. smith reynolds foundation funds for scholarships for professorships for our faculty scholarships for students. in many ways the history of the reynolds


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